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Libya orders detention of health minister for 'financial violations'

Libya's Health Minister Ali al-Zanati (3rd-R) visits the newly-inaugurated vaccination centre inside the Sports City complex in the capital Tripoli on 11 August 2021. [AFP via Getty Images]
Libya's Health Minister Ali al-Zanati (3rd-R) visits the newly-inaugurated vaccination centre inside the Sports City complex in the capital Tripoli on 11 August 2021. [AFP via Getty Images]

The Libyan Public Prosecution on Wednesday ordered the detention of Minister of Health Ali Al-Zanati and the ministry's Undersecretary Samir Koko for "financial and administrative violations."

This decision is the second of its kind in less than a month, after the Public Prosecutor issued, on 29 December, an order to arrest Minister of Culture Mabroukah Toughi on charges of "financial corruption".

The official Libyan News Agency (LNA) said that "in the framework of the follow-up of the Public Prosecutor Office to the procedures for evaluating the performance of the employees of the Ministry of Health, the Public Prosecutor ordered the imprisonment of Al-Zanati and Koko, pending a case of financial violations discovered."

LNA explained that "the Chief Prosecutor in the Public Prosecutor's Office has started the procedures of the investigation on the financial violations discovered by the court."

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The minister of health and the undersecretary of the Ministry of Health were both questioned as part of this probe "regarding the failure to observe the regulation of administrative contracts in the sector's contracts and the failure to adhere to the criteria for using contracting tools," it added.

The ministry and his deputy, it explained, were supplying oxygen generating units at 1,000 per cent of the market price.

The source continued: "As there is sufficient evidence that they committed the violations attributed to them, the Public Prosecution representative ordered that they be remanded in custody."

Neither official has commented on the charges.

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